You Are Why We Do What We Do
How you helped With My Boy become a reality
“We are thrilled that the moms and sons who enjoy our mother and son matching outfits know that they are getting handmade, quality keepsake outfits and accessories worthy of celebrating this special mom-and-son bond.”
– Catherine Yang
Designer & Mom-Pamperer
Mother of One Endearing Boy
Q: Why do you like mum-and-son matching?
A: I love wearing matching with my son. When I first wear the same shirt as him, he really loves it. I realise that, over time, he shows more confidence and excitement when we match… can be in same colours, print or style. It’s great for family bonding and gives him a strong sense of belonging and identity.
Q: How old is your son now? Does he still like it?
A: He is 7 and still likes it. I make accessories like hats, bags, scarfs, for him to choose and am always sensitive to his needs. I make it a point to ask him every time if he would love to match. I am especially aware of his need for independence, especially when he told me one day “mummy, can we kiss at home only?” I got the point!
Q: Is that why you started With My Boy?
A: My son is definitely how it started. I wanted to style him in clothes to preserve his and my individuality. That’s why you can see the matching fabric artwork and type and fabric but very individualistic style. The boy’s wear is always designed to be fun and playful, whilst the mums’ is feminine and stylish. I love fashion. I expressed myself and my happiness through the way I dress. I believe it’s my voice and it’s important to preserve it.
The other reason is that it’s generally thought that only girls get to dress up. When we visit boutiques, we have rows of girls wear and sometimes, only half a row or lesser for boys. It is common to hear in mothers’ group, comments like: “I wish I have a girl, so I can dress her up and wear the same as her”. I never believe dress up is for girls only. I believe it’s for everyone, boys and girls alike. I want to introduce fashion and style to boys. Since my son was young, I encouraged him to choose his own clothes and was pleasantly surprised, that he loves and pairs his ensembles so well. One memorable incident especially reminded me that boys can use fashion to express themselves. When son was young, I mean much younger, my partner travels a lot for work. We would see him only on weekends when he flies back to spend time with us. Once he was assigned to a project in Singapore and had to fly 16 hours every weekend to see us for just under a day every week for 3 months. That’s his commitment to the family. On one of the more difficult weekend for my son as daddy wasn’t able to come home, my son dress with a polo T-shirt tucked in his jeans. I thought… hmm, not quite his style. So I said, “Darling, you dress differently today.” And his reply shocked me, “Look like daddy, yea? Daddy said I must protect you when he is away.” #instantlymelted #foreverlove #whateveryousay
Q: Why do you choose to have them handmade?
A: Handmade clothing is special and memorable. You can imagine the sewing studio, the sound of the scissors cutting the fabric, the handcrafting of details, and hand sewing of intricate details.
Hand sewing is an art that provides detail and quality that is hard to achieve in an industrialised environment. I cherish this art and I think something as precious as family memories, should be represented by this fine art.
When I think of mum and son matching, it’s more than just a set of apparel. It’s a keepsake, that you want to have in the treasure box of things you kept for your son(s). The thought that every mum-and-son(s), who receive my matching sets, know they are getting handmade, quality keepsake outfits that are symbolic of celebrating the special mum-and-son bond is my pride and what keeps me going.
Q: You have also started a baby line.
A: Yes. I was very touched when new mums in our Tribe told me that they literally waited for their son to be 2 years old, to get a matching set. So, I want to thank the mums who trust and support me by starting a line with newborn sizes. In addition, I will also be including personalisation in my service soon, so that initials, names, or milestones, can be part of selected pieces for your significant moments.
Q: I see that in your studio, you also have some lunch bags, opal card (Sydney travel cards) holders, drink bottle bags, hats, etc. Are you sewing for your son?
A: Oh.. They are going to debut to the public soon. But I don’t know when at this point. Every product is designed, crafted, trailed and tuned to satisfaction before launch.
I am trying to design personalised lifestyle accessories for boys, which are stylish.. (yes, it’s very important for With My Boy that every product meets the style standard) and lifestyle-friendly. Like, we would want to re-design the lunch-bags such that it’s lightweight and easy for parents to carry around, travel card holders that are easy for our boys to use…
Q: What is the vision you have for With My Boy?
A: When I first started, I want to be a mum-and-son(s) specialty store. And, the mission has always been to delight mums and sons, so I will continue to listen to our mums and design apparel, or lifestyle accessories to delight them. I am pretty much a one-woman show, and I think it’s great as a start-up because it makes a difference when you are the one chatting directly with the community you serve. I have an intimate relationship with mums and their relatives/ friends in this community. Whenever they have an idea, they will just send me pictures, or message me. And it works both ways, I can always message them directly when I need an opinion. The collection always delights them partly because we design it together.
*This interview is done at With My Boy Handmade Studio at Catherine’s lovely home in Sydney in September 2019.
Here’s their not-so-little lil’ journey since 2016…